5 Fall Time Activities | Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Without any large glaciated peaks and untamed valleys, Cuyahoga Valley isn’t your typical National Park. Cuyahoga Valley is known as an "urban" national park due to its location, being nestled between the bustling cities of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Congress established Cuyahoga Valley National Park in October of 2000, but before its designation as a national park, Cuyahoga Valley was a National Recreation Area.  Consequently, recreational activities are the hallmark of this unique park and Fall is one of the best times of the year to visit.  Therefore, here are 5 unique Fall time activities to enjoy and experience in Ohio's only National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Railways were once the life-blood of many National Parks, bringing guests from the East Coast to visit parks like Glacier and Yellowstone. Although times have changed, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) is still a key feature of this park. The railway is a volunteer-based program allowing visitors to experience the beauty and diversity of the Cuyahoga Valley.  A popular way to ride the railway is the Bike Aboard program where visitors can bike in one direction along the towpath trail and then catch the train back.  In addition, Saturday’s and Sunday’s during Autumn you can jump on the “Fall Flyer”, a two-hour non-stop excursion through the park. It is one of the best ways to see the beauty of forests, fields, and wetlands flanking the railway as it winds its way through the Cuyahoga River Valley.

Farms & Food

11 Countryside Farms exist within Cuyahoga Valley, therefore, you can spend an entire day visiting these authentic and historic farms. These farms work with their park partners to be good land stewards, as a result, they are committed to sustainable agriculture.  After spending some time out on the farm you will probably want to grab something to eat from the Countryside Farmers Market.  There are three different, yet convenient, market locations; Howe Meadow in Peninsula, middle of the National Park; Highland Square, a thriving, walkable community in West Akron; and Old Trail School, a private school in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Hike/Bike The Towpath Trail

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an urban park, however, it boasts some fantastic trails.  The 85-mile historic towpath of the Ohio & Erie Canalway is an excellent trail to enjoy the fall colors and spend some time outdoors enjoying the beautiful fall weather.  You'll walk or ride along the same path that the mules used to tow the canal boats loaded with goods and passengers. Also, you will see historical remnants as you pass many of the canal locks and related structures. As a matter of fact, the Ohio & Erie Canalway was designated a National Heritage Area by Congress to help preserve and celebrate the rails, trails, landscapes, towns, and sites that grew up along the first 110 miles of the canal that helped Ohio and our nation grow.

Visit The Waterfalls

Cuyahoga Valley’s waterfalls are among the most popular attractions in the park.  Brandywine Falls is a beautiful 65-foot waterfall that is the most noteworthy waterfall in the park.  While Brandywine Falls might be standing room only, Blue Hen Falls is just the opposite. It is only 18-feet tall, much quieter, and receives far fewer visitors, but it can be even more breathtaking. Consequently, many believe that it is the most beautiful waterfall in the park.

Blue Hen Falls | Cuyahoga Valley National Park | © Jeff Burcher

Blue Hen Falls | Cuyahoga Valley National Park | © Jeff Burcher

"A Cold Creepy Reading Of The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow"

Finally, Cuyahoga tradition requires you to take a trip to Valley View, Ohio to experience one of America’s greatest Halloween traditions with an authentic reading of Washington Irving’s infamous story of Ichabod Crane.  Enjoy some hot cider, cocoa, baked goods, songs, & a thrilling reading of "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” by the Lantern Theater in the “Haunted” Red Barn.